Perfection is for failures

There is an intense strength about the creative mind that transcends reality in order to achieve something better.


I did not realise this, when I still spent time with Aldous and Harry, and wondered why I was not completely discouraged from doing anything, since they did not appear to either understand what I was doing, nor want to understand when it was explained to them.


Twisty, who is a finisher rather than a creator, is more encouraging as a rule, but I have detected the familiar sneer of contempt even as he sits watching me make a piece for weeks knowing perfectly well that everything I make looks as if a five year old is working on it until it gets to completion.  I have a very low failure rate, some would say too low, but I do tend to get the job done, even when the items I work on tend to be experimental in nature. Better this than not trying at all.


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Honey, I made you an icon, for example, is a form of orgonite, which I discovered in the course of experimenting with coloured grout and a vague idea I had about glorifying Wolfe in precious metals and gemstones.  It was only after I started the work that it occurred to me that all the gemstones had reiki meanings, and so I simply went for the relevant stones to create a message within a rather flashy and childlike rendering of Wolfe’s face. (I do love this picture of him, but I suspect it is because I see the genetic pointers that my father imprinted on me, so I guess it is a little vain of me.   He also looks a bit tired, which is very cute indeed if you happen to be a chick.)


Twisty has some amusing pictures of the making of the icon, which he takes great delight in showing me now and again.  I am reasonably pleased with the glorious kitsch imperfection and quasi-medieval effect.  I was very surprised that it was so popular in Russia.  I was afraid that they would be slightly offended that I had borrowed some Russian Orthodox imagery, but they passed the blog post around Russia for weeks.


I am now working on a cameo and 3d rendering of a statue which I found at Versailles, which has been slightly modified to look suspiciously like him, so I am getting more representative as I develop my creative stamina.  I do not want to go too far down this route, however, as my work is really about emotional imprinting.  The point is to allow the hands to do what you are feeling, rather than muck around with yet more new mediums.


Anyway, to return to the actual point.  Perfection is not something that successful creators or innovative thinkers really care to address.  It is up to a finisher like Twisty to worry about perfection and adding additional details to further egg your pudding, so to speak.  To someone like me, innovation involves mess, mistakes, and lots of them.  Fear of mistakes is therefore, fear of working at all.


Wolfe’s unwillingness to waste even a bad day at work, littered across youtube, was extremely useful in unlocking this tendency.  I am less likely to put things on the back burner until I have subconciously figured out a way of getting it just right.  This could be a wasteful new trait, but so far it has worked out well.  I do, of course have a lot of experience of how to get out of trouble these days, but I still retain the roughness that I crave in terms of the finished product.


I was the same as a chef.  Some chefs want their items to look mass produced or ‘perfect.’  I always wanted things to look as if your mother had slaved over the stove all day, and not quite managed to copy the picture.  Strangely, I have found most people, like me, associate this imperfection with love.  I was ‘denounced’ as the ‘flavour queen’ by a disparaging former chef at one point in my career.  To refer to something that tastes unusually good as not so proficient as something which looks perfect may seem churlish, but this is the nature of cooking at the higher levels.  They need to find something wrong with your work, otherwise there is something wrong with them.


And here is the key to those people who seek to discourage you by saying that your early efforts in terms of learning an instrument, learning to draw, learning to cook etc are worthless.  They are the sort of people who do nothing, learn nothing and pay for someone else’s efforts in terms of years of mistakes to achieve something new.  They are not the world’s innovators, and they fear their own mistakes.  There is an entire culture of admiring expertise which involves an abdication of personal responsibility.  It occurs to me that I too am guilty of this, since I am unwilling to spend more than two or three minutes on recording a blog post in case I do it well and annoy Wolfe.  Oratory is his thing, and I am unwilling to rain on his parade.


This is a terrible attitude.  I should want to make it better.  I just don’t want to.  I want to get the job done, and move onto the next, considerably more worthwhile task.  I have tried to explain this to Twisty many times, but he would rather spend four weeks on getting one thing perfect, in one memorable case missing the boat entirely in terms of topicality, than put out a rough product on the basis of building up an audience.  This is the trade off you have to make.  One of the many things I got from my ponderings on Wolfe, was that you are never going to be ready.  Something is always going to be wrong, so you might as well put your ‘better than most’ effort out and work on perfection later.


Perfection is for failures and people who don’t try.  A master of an art is someone who has learned to accept a margin of error that probably only he/she can see.  It doesn’t matter how hard you work on a creative concept, you will always see the problems.  Michelangelo would probably point at all the rough parts if you asked him about his work too.


So, my thought for the day is – Learn to love your mistakes, and you will learn to love you.  Forget everyone else, forget the negative voice and blunder away.  Smile at your errors, believe in your mistakes and don’t ever stop trying, because if you do, the only thing you will learn is how to be a perfect failure.


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